So when I arrived in Chicago for my 3-week winter vacation I was a gym orphan. Having canceled my long standing membership at a commercial gym-that-shall-not-be-named, I went in search of new fitness adventures in my hometown. After a bit of shopping, I arrived at the gem (no pun intended) that is Enrgi Fitness in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago.
While I was initially in search of a traditional gym that also offered classes, in particular spinning classes, Enrgi won me over despite only offering classes (in other words you can’t just show up and do your own thing), none of which are spinning. The studio offers a ton of classes throughout the day ranging from bootcamp style “warrior” training to barre and yoga. Classes are either 30, 45, or 60 minutes long and leave you feeling amazing. Here are some of things worth highlighting about Enrgi.
Versatile Workouts: If you’re like me, there are certain exercises that you enjoy (because they’re effective but relatively less challenging that others), exercises that you love to hate (which you don’t enjoy but you do because they make you feel like a bad ass (cough cough, push-up burpees)), and exercises that you actually hate and would never think to do without the pressure of an instructor telling you do so. There are also exercises that you don’t do simply because you didn’t know they existed. Because of the all the different styles that Enrgi classes incorporate, I guarantee that you will find yourself doing more exercises that fall in the latter two categories than you would probably like. Classes push you to give attention to parts of your body that you may typically ignore and try exercises that you’ve cast off as too difficult. Some of the classes that I went to regularly were “Warrior Tabata,” “Shredded,” and “500 Calories.” These classes incorporated everything from plyometrics to low-impact cardio to strength training and use tools such as battle ropes, kettlebells, dumbells, and bosu balls. So no matter what your regular routine is, you’re sure to encounter something new and challenging. Click here for a full list of class descriptions.
Accessibility: So I know the intensity of Enrgi’s classes that I described above might be a little intimidating to someone who is new to fitness or hopping back into the saddle after a hiatus. I would like to assuage any discouragement that I might have caused by underscoring one of the best things about this studio. Enrgi instructors always offer three levels (and sometimes four!) for the moves that they use in classes, level 1 being the least intense and level 3 being the most advanced. The difference between levels could be a matter of the weight that you’re using, the speed at which you’re performing a particular move, or an additional element that you perform. The awesome thing about this is that it allows everyone to customize their workout to be personally challenging, which gives everyone the opportunity to take any class that they want. I personally know and hate the feeling of inadequacy that results from being in a work out class that is way too advanced, as well as that feeling of your time is being wasted that comes from being in a class that is way too easy. Enrgi instructors give everyone in the class the tools to build a challenging workout that pushes their individual limits so that everyone gets what they came for. Another great thing about this is that it gives those who attend classes room for growth within each move so even that once they get comfortable with doing an exercise one way, they can add to it to make it more challenging and take it to the next level. Enrgi’s level system also makes for a great way to track your progress and stay motivated as being able to move into a more advanced level of a move feels …. kind of amazing.
Quality Instructors (who care): I think we can all agree that it’s the worst when you a) go to a fitness class and you feel the instructor has no clue what he/she is doing b) the instructor simply barks at you from his/her high horse without taking the time to check in with their students, correct form, and give feedback c) you leave a fitness class feeling like to still need to run 10k to get a good day’s workout. I experienced none of these things in any of the 27 classes (yes 27 classes in 3 weeks – I was clearly obsessed) that I took at Enrgi. From day one, the instructors were attentive, quickly learning my name and my personal level of fitness in order to challenge me and push me to challenge myself. During classes, they spent their time demonstrating moves, shouting encouraging statements (often with personalizations), giving personalized feedback on form and technique, and occasionally performing the moves themselves to set the pace and keep energy up. The supportive, yet challenging, environment at Enrgi really paid off for me. During my last “500 Calories” class yesterday, I was amazed at how many push ups I could do in a row and baffled, yet pleasantly surprised, by my motivation to finish my burpees with tuck jumps (I loath tuck jumps with a passion, in case you didn’t know). I came into Enrgi having little faith in my upper body but with the encouragement of Enrgi instructors, one in particular who insisted that my weakness was mental rather than physical, I left with the experiences of having had my arm and core strength successfully support my body in both crow pose and an assisted forearm stand. As grueling as some of the workouts were, they really paid off, not only because they were well designed but also because of the supportive environment that the instructors actively worked to create.
More to Come: So if you take a look at the Enrgi site (which I’m sure you’ve already done because of my glowing review), you’ll see that the image on the home page is promoting their move to a new location. While the big move won’t happen until later this month, the promotion names “treadmills,” “spin bikes,” “ski ergs,” “monkey bars,” and “rowers” as some of the equipment that can be expected at the new studio. Is anyone else excited???
Price Info: Because I was a new client, I was able to sign up for one month of unlimited classes for $65, no initial/enrollment fee. This was great for me since I was only in town for 3 weeks and went to an average of 9 classes a week I only ended up paying less than $2.50 a class. You can’t beat that with a stick! After the trial, however, the unlimited monthly price almost doubles to $120. :/ While the 120 would still be well worth it if you take advantage of the classes, they also have awesome challenge membership rates ranging from $80-95/month depending on the conditions of the contract. If you sign up for this rate, you agree to go to at least 16 classes a month or be penalized with a fee for every class under 16 that you don’t take. This sounds like a great deal to me, and would be especially useful for anyone who needs that extra kick to get to the gym. With all of the great classes that they offer, going four times a week is cake (as in the delicious baked treat that you’ll get to eat without guilt because you went to 4 classes a week). If you’re like me and float in and out of Chicago throughout the year, they also offer no-contract packages that are more suitable to a nomadic lifestyle. A full list of membership packages can be found here.
So if you’re a Chicago dweller looking to take your fitness up a notch or someone stopping through Chicago and hoping to keep your fitness game up in the process, I highly recommend checking out Enrgi. Your body (and the strong sexy muscles that you’ll develop) will thank you later.
**Photo credit: Enrgi Fitness